LAPD detective Brett Goodkin helped bring down the infamous "Bling Ring" of young thieves who lifted jewels and other valuables from the homes of the Hollywood elite (and Paris Hilton). That made him an ideal consultant for Sofia Coppola's dramatization of the affair, currently underway with Emma Watson (pictured on set) in the leading role. Well, sort of ideal, except for one huge conflict of interest.
From the LAT:
Police officers have served as paid consultants on Hollywood projects since the dawn of the crime genre. But experts said Goodkin’s actions are highly unusual because the case is still in court, where his financial interest in the film is certain to become an issue raised by the defense.
Goodkin never notified prosecutors of his work on the movie, though his testimony is likely to be central at the trial of three remaining defendants. Informed by The Times of Goodkin’s role, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office expressed shock: “We did not know, and now that we do we have to evaluate what impact this may have.”
Legal experts said Goodkin’s consulting work could significantly complicate the prosecution’s case.
“This looks very unsavory, and it could make a big difference in attacking the credibility of the investigator,” said Thomas Mesereau, a criminal defense attorney who defended Michael Jackson in his 2005 child molestation trial. “Clearly, it presents a conflict of interest if someone’s investigation becomes oriented toward creating a story or entertainment. It’s certainly going to taint the investigation’s motives and make them look unprofessional.”
Goodkin reportedly is distancing himself from the project henceforth, while prosecutors may yet be legally compelled to bargain with the remaining defendants awaiting trial. Tough break. But come on! They broke into Paris Hilton's house! Those kids should have pleaded no contest months ago and been sentenced to 30 days of desperately needed taste rehab. Let's make a deal, already.